My work examines the ways in which sites are marked, unmarked, and distinguished from surrounding areas. With a somewhat equal emphasis on both the planned meticulousness and the precarious jury-rigging of the construction process, the sculptures observe and absorb the tendencies of built architectural and utilitarian structures, investigating what it means to mark a site with a structure and how the physicality of structure functions beyond what it marks.
My practice concerns itself with the materiality of the building process, asserting building materials as relics of place, site, and process. They exist as witnesses to the complete action timeline of a structure. I am interested in the shift that occurs when those materials are rematerialized in a new context and under new pretenses. My work breaks down some of the most common of these materials and builds them back up again using self-defined processes. The fabricated materials appear quite deviant from the common originals but are presented in familiar orientations, referencing traditional systems of building while allowing the objects to remain divorced from it.
Employing refabricated materials and altered building methods, the sculptural works slow down and frustrate the building process. They fetishize and dissect the intimacy of American building labor and the ways in which it links to larger systems of power and authority. It calls for an acknowledgment and questioning of who we allow to make constructive decisions and how their decisions trickle down through builders and their structures.
Emily Swanberg is a Minneapolis, MN based sculptor and builder who is influenced by the materials and processes inherent to building and architecture. Her work investigates in the intimacy of building labor and the ways in which it links to larger systems of power and authority.
She earned her MFA from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 2019 and her BFA in Studio Art and BA in Psychology from Bethel University in 2016. Her work has been included in various exhibitions, including the 2018 Masters Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland. She has also received various honors and awards, including the 2019 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Honorable Mention Award from the International Sculpture Center.